Name and age: Robert Byars, 31 Years Old
How long you’ve lived in the city: 5 Years
Education background: Morehouse College, B.A. Sociology with a Minor in Criminal Justice
Clark Atlanta University, Masters of Social Work
Family: Safiya – Wife of 8 years, Olivia – 3 year old daughter
Occupation: Medical Social Worker at Grady Memorial Hospital
Political Affiliation: not answered
Religious Affiliation: not answered
Membership & Affiliation: Brookwood Home Owners Association, United Peachtree Corners Civic Association, Gwinnett C.O.P.S., Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute, 2nd Step Ministries, Norcross Business Association, Sustainable Norcross.
Have you had an previous civic or public involvement?
For most of my life, I have been dedicated to working for my community through community service, neighborhood leadership and my profession. I am an Eagle Scout and follow the Scout Oath and Law down to the letter. I have had the honor of serving on the Brookwood Home Owners Association and during my tenure I helped to cut the financial deficit that we had been facing for years. In addition, I lead the effort to initiate the Gwinnett C.O.P.S. Program where block captains and home owners became active in protecting our neighborhood. I am a graduate of the Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute and I currently serve on the Board of Directors for 2nd Step Ministries, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing the cycle of relapse and recidivism of women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction through peer to peer interaction. As a Social Worker at Grady Memorial Hospital, I have been able to work with a wide demographic population consisting of various ethnic, social and financial backgrounds. Finally, as a former candidate for the Board of Commissioners for Gwinnett County, I have gained associations with city officials from all over the county in which I have learned how best to serve the citizens of municipalities. I have worked closely with the UPCCA in helping what we now know as the City of Peachtree Corners come into existence.
What is the driving force behind your interest to serve on the Peachtree Corners City Council?
I believe in the potential for Peachtree Corners’ future as a city. My service on City Council will be that of one dedicated to the citizens of the city. In my tenure as your city councilman, I will provide responsible leadership to all citizens in our great city. As we saw in the referendum vote, there is a divide among those that were for the city and were against it. Since we all are part of the same community, I want to be able to bridge that divide and create a participatory government so that, united, we can build a path towards a better future for our city. Just because our opinions differ, it does not mean we cannot strive towards excellence.
What challenges do you see ahead for the new City?
The greatest challenge that I see facing the city is that we still have a population that is divided on whether the city will live up to its expectations. Will there be wasteful spending? Will the millage rate be raised? Will the city council adhere to the charter? Will parts of the city be forgotten about? The challenge comes in the form of: Is the City Council doing everything possible to represent the tax-paying citizen in Peachtree Corners? I believe in open and honest communication, and I believe that you never say anything that you cannot backup 100%. So when I say that I will work for you and want to gain your trust as a neighbor that you elected to City Council, my actions and decisions will clearly reflect that. I will not waste your tax dollars. I will work to keep Peachtree Corners a thriving community so that your family and my family will be able to continue to grow and thrive here. It is inevitable that any city will see its set of challenges, but I believe that proper planning for the future and a system of community support will help meet those trials head-on and any difficult hurdle will be able to be cleared. I am one that believes in exceeding expectations. I believe in Peachtree Corners and its citizens.
What should the central mission of the city council be?
The central mission for the city council, especially a new city council, will be to create a comprehensive plan that sets the path towards success for the city and its citizens. As your city councilman, I will push for a comprehensive plan that is based on a 5-10-20 vision. This means we not only form immediate plans, but we also plan for 5 years, 10 years and 20 years down the road. Of course the 5-10-20 plan will change to adapt to the city and its needs over the years, but if we start planning today for the future, we will be able to meet any challenge head on.
Do you see any current zoning changes you would recommend and why?
I would personally love to see the area across from The Forum re-zoned so that it is put to better use for the community. I am for the development of possibly a senior living center or retail center (the Forum 2?) or mixed use development for this area. Currently, the area is zoned for apartments, so I think that it would be imperative to work with the developer to use this land to best benefit the citizens of the community.
How would your office approach business development in the district?
Business development is essential to the existence of Peachtree Corners. The area has been able to attract small, corporate, and retail businesses over the years and I would seek to continue this trend. Areas like Tech Park have played a major role in the development of the area and The Forum has maintained its status as a major retail center. We have seen Dick’s Sporting Goods move in to join the mainstay Target. Smaller businesses such as Esquire Cleaners, Grouchy’s Deli, and Liberty Tax Service all continue to bring customers through their doors no matter how bad the economy is. My office would work closely with business leaders in developing plans to help not only attract other new businesses, but also new residence which would translate into new customers. Working closely with the Peachtree Corners Business Association will help the city council keep an open ear to how to increase business development. Lastly, but certainly not least, responsible initiatives should be created in order to draw new business owners to move to and settle in the city.
Ask and answer your own question that will help voters decide how to vote. OR Simply state in under 250 words why voters should vote for you?
My name is Robert Byars and I am running to be your City Council Representative for Post 4 At-Large because Peachtree Corners deserves excellent and responsible leadership from the very start. I will adhere to the charter as established. I will listen to you, my neighbor and act on your behalf. I will strive to maintain the quality of life that has made our city one of a kind and I will use ethical and sound judgment. I will make sure revenue is utilized to the fullest extent and make zoning decisions that benefit the city. I will work to attract families to our city as well as provide for the aging population that helped make this city what it is. I will defend your protection by referendum. Just as important, I will listen and act on community input. For additional information, please visit www.RobertByars.com. With your vote, it would be an honor to server as your City Council Representative.